Who doesn’t love a life hack? We might like to challenge ourselves when exploring the great outdoors, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate tips and tricks to make our outings just a little bit easier. With that in mind, we’ve decided to follow our first two installments of outdoor hacks up with another roundup of the most genius hacks the Internet has to offer. This time we’re tackling hiking hacks, so strap on your boots and prepare to hit the trails with a whole new bag of tricks up your sleeve.
1. When darkness descends a bit more suddenly than expected, create an insta-lantern by directing your cell phone light through a bottle or jug of water. This gives off an atmospheric glow rather than a direct beam of light.
2. Practicing Leave No Trace Principles means you may occasionally have to pack out your waste TP. Sprinkle baking soda in the bags you plan to use for this purpose beforehand, which will decrease unpleasant odors.
3. If you find yourself in need of a little hiking aid, fashion your own walking stick.
4. Tired of wires getting tangled in your packs? Keep phone chargers and other electrical device wires organized with the help of hair clips. You’ll never have to stop and untangle again.
5. Want an easy way to estimate remaining daylight? (We are assuming, of course, that you spent your phone battery tracking trails and marking waypoints with your Pocket Ranger® app, since the app’s weather tab is the #1 way to check on sunrise and sunset times.) This brilliant graphic says it better than we could:
6. Did you lose your matches or lighter, or – GASP – forget to pack them? Don’t worry; you’re not doomed to darkness. Here’s how you can start a fire without matches.
7. Speaking of matches, you can waterproof yours at home with shellac. You just need strike-anywhere matches, shellac, a cardboard box, double-sided tape, and tweezers.
Adhere a strip of double-sided tape to the edge of the box. Use the tweezers to gently dip each match into the shellac. Make sure you don’t dip it all the way up to the tweezers. Lift the match out of the shellac, give it a little shake, and push it up against the tape upside down. The matches will drip-dry as they hang here, so it’s a good idea to place a paper towel underneath them to catch the drips. Once the matches dry, you’re all set!
8. When your hike is over, your hacks don’t necessarily have to end too. After your hike, stuff wet hiking boots with balled up newspaper to help them dry. Replace the newspaper every few hours until the boots have dried completely.
This is a better method than placing your boots in the sun or near a radiator, which can cause the boots to crack.
9. Your hiking boots may also be a bit smelly post-hike. Combat odors by placing a dry tea bag inside your boots after your hike is finished.
We hope these genius hiking hacks will make your treks even more enjoyable. What are your favorite hiking hacks? Leave us a comment and let us know!